The famous Liberty Bell rolled into the railroad yard just west of Seattle's Great Northern depot on the morning of July 14, 1915.

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The famous Liberty Bell rolled into the railroad yard just west of Seattle’s Great Northern depot on the morning of July 14, 1915, and, as you see it here, the patriotic relic from Philadelphia was strapped to a sturdy flat car. Earlier that morning the bell was late in leaving Everett, where the enthusiastic locals had crowded all around it.

The bell had been cracked several times and recast. The first crack apparently occurred on the first stroke of its clapper after it was lifted to the State House steeple in 1753 to commemorate William Penn’s “1701 charter of privileges” for the colony of “Pensylvania,” as it was originally spelled on the bell. It seems that the last cracking happened on George Washington’s birthday anniversary in 1835.

While in Seattle the bell was saluted, prayed to, fainted over, serenaded and kissed many times before it was pulled away to Tacoma about midafternoon. On the very last of an estimated 400 trips between 1885 and 1915, the Liberty Bell was headed for the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco before returning home to Philadelphia, where it has been secured and displayed ever since.

“Washington Then and Now,” the new book by Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard, can be purchased through www.washingtonthenandnow.com ($45) or through Tartu Publications at P.O. Box 85208, Seattle, WA 98145.